More than 10 larger capacity motorbikes with unpaid taxes have been seized following an inspection that began last week in a move to regulate the issue, tax officials have said.
According to the regulations, bikes whose engines exceed 250cc are not allowed to be imported into Laos but in reality many can be seen on the roads.
Solution measures on what to do with the seized bikes remain unclear, an official of the Tax Inspection Division under the Ministry of Finance told Vientiane Times yesterday.
“Our duty is to inspect and seize those illegal bikes. What to do further with the seized bikes will be guided by higher authorities,” she said.
The tax officials begun the inspection on Friday following an announcement issued recently by higher authorities. The inspection will take place across the country.
The relevant officials will carry out the duty in collaboration with the provincial departments and the relevant sectors.
An owner of a local bike distribution shop in Vientiane said like other distributors he is not permitted to import big bikes whose engines exceed 250 cc.
However he himself has observed big bikes whose engines even reach 1,000cc running on roads in Vientiane.
The importation of big bikes whose engines exceed 250 cc is not only illegal but it also means the government has lost revenue from such illegal practices because the relevant taxes have not been paid.
The tax official said information on the numbers of big bikes in Laos is not available because they are illegally imported thus there is no database.
Observers said officials are being tested as to whether they would be able to regulate the issue properly and fairly given that many owners of the expensive big bikes have connections with influential figures who can help them get things done.
They suggested that the investigation should look at how these illegal big bikes have been allowed to be driven on the roads for a long time without being stopped.
They should also look at what documents they are using when they are stopped by traffic police and who is producing those documents.
However, talking to Vientiane Times some big bike owners, who asked not to be named, said they should be allowed to drive the bikes legally and that they would be pleased to pay tax and other fees according to the laws and regulations.
“Just allow us to pay tax and drive legally. The Asean Community is due to be realised and Laos should be open [on this issue],” one owner proclaimed.
He added that officials should not seize them or their bikes in the same manner they confiscate drugs or prosecute drug dealers.